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Clean EP (Dirty Hit)

It’s still small steps for Amber Bain, but as The Japanese House, she’s bit-by-bit establishing herself as a pop force like no other. Debut EP ‘Pools to Bathe In’ was alien-like, spinning magic out of multilayered vocals and playful synths. On ‘Clean’, Bain makes a run for it. The focal points of her first work are magnified, and there’s a noted confidence with every next step. ‘Clean’’s titletrack is a magnifying love song made out of new shapes, while ‘Letter By The Water’ finds sweetness in the deftest of touches. ‘Cool Blue’, the EP’s highlight, is less subtle. Beginning with Bon Iver style plucking, it gives way to a bright-eyed, brilliantly odd slant on pop. Give Bain a standard set of tools and she’ll manage to make something strange. It’s her finest skill, evident in the space of two blinkandyoumissedit EP’s. (Jamie Milton) Listen: ‘Cool Blue’

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FIGHTSTAR

Behind the Devil’s Back (Self-released)

It may have been over ten years since Fightstar first made their mark with a debut EP, but if the first thrashing guitars of opener ‘Sharp Tongue’ declare anything, it’s that they still know how to cause a riot. Still channelling the potent influence of the likes of Deftones, the quartet’s latest album manages to deftly balance soaring, melodic verses with brutal, earth-shaking riffs, not unlike the offerings from their debut full-length ‘Grand Unification’. Granted, it’s a precarious line to tread but they manage to pull it off. From the pummelling title track through to the intensity of ‘Animal’s introduction, the band may be flexing muscles that have been otherwise unused for the past few years, but their return to the band suits them well. (Sarah Jamieson) Listen: ‘Titan’

ARCA

Mutant (Mute)

This month sees Björk releasing a strings only, stripped back version of her ‘Vulnicura’ album, one free of her production work alongside Arca. Comparison points aren’t hard to find between the two forms of that record, and it’s clear on Arca’s second album ‘Mutant’ that he currently operates in a dark, twisted and gutsy headspace. This record forges a new feel out of complete chaos, in the most deranged way possible. Aside from the brutal norm its twenty, overwhelming tracks follow, ‘Mutant’ is also capable of digging up gold. The closing half of its title-track is a gorgeous breath of fresh air, while ‘Front Load’ could be a Timbaland beat in alien disguise. This record is deadly in intention, but it packs a sweet heart - Arca is one of very few names around who can balance the two extremes. (Jamie Milton) Listen: ‘Mutant’

Floating Pints

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FLOATING POINTS Elaenia (Pluto)

Floating Points’ long-awaited debut begins with the understated electrometallic glitch of ‘Nespole’ - gently swaying rather than having a forward momentum. Little elements are added to the mix slowly, as if being stirred in. A little electronic squelch there, a jazz drum here. For the most part, it’s a lesson in intricacy, of suspense and minimalism. Then there’s the euphoric release of final track ‘Peroration Six’, like the end of the night on the dancefloor, and it’s what everything has been building up to. (Danny Wright) Listen: ‘Peroration Six’

a lesson in i n t r i c a c y. 71

Profile for DIY Magazine

DIY, November 2015  

Featuring artists doing it their way - Hinds, Run The Jewels, Father John Misty, Shamir and more. Plus on tour with Wolf Alice and Drenge, a...

DIY, November 2015  

Featuring artists doing it their way - Hinds, Run The Jewels, Father John Misty, Shamir and more. Plus on tour with Wolf Alice and Drenge, a...